Roman near colourless glass modiolus with wheel-cut bands

From the Charles Ede Instagram Account
May 25, 2021


Roman modiolus blown in smoky clear glass, with straight, outward flaring sides, folded and flattened rim, a tubular splayed foot and pronounced depression under the base of the bowl. The body is decorated with a number of wheel-cut bands of varying width, and the strap handle has a thumb spur in cobalt blue.

Vessels made in this particularly distinctive shape are sometimes called a “modius”, the Latin name for a grain measure. However, since glass versions of the form vary widely in size, they could not have been used as measure, and their delicate material makes them unlikely grain scoops. Therefore the term “modiolus” is now preferred for a variety of cups and other quite large vessels.

The official modius was the equivalent of 16 sextarii and the sextarius in liquid measure was just under one pint. The present example holds two sextarii.

Provenance: Peter and Traudi Plesch collection, UK; acquired 1950s onwards
Now in a major US Museum, acquired from Charles Ede in 2003

Published in the hand list of the London Circle of Glass Collectors exhibition 1987-8, no.9

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